Folking Around … news from around the wonderful world of folk


There have been a number of exciting and important themed projects over the last couple of years – the Elizabethan Sessions and Shake the Chains for example, but one of the standouts was 2015’s Ballads of Child Migration – a tribute to the moving story of Britain’s forced child migrants, some sent abroad as recently as 1970. After a live version was premiered at last year’s Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, the project is undertaking a short tour in November. Featuring the likes of John McCusker, Belinda O’Hooley, Heidi Tidow, Boo Hewerdine, Jez Lowe and Andy Cutting, and narrated by Barbara Dickson, it’s one not to miss.

Talking of things not to miss, our friends at Trowbridge’s Village Pump Folk Club have some excellent acts coming up over the next couple of months, including Shire Folk favourite Sarah McQuaid and Peter Knight’s Gigspanner Big Band. website

Another interesting little excursion is The Mad Hatters presenting an evening of words and music on warfare down the ages and the 1918 armistice. Performances takes place on Friday 9 November at St Andrew’s Church, East Hagbourne and Saturday 24 November at St James Church, Denchworth. If that’s your sort of thing then details from [linda.benton@live.co.uk]

Since 2004 local promoters Glovebox have put on over 60 gigs with some of the very best live acts around. If you’ve ever been to one of these gigs (and it has to be said that your Shire Folk editors have been known to frequent them) then the fact that 12 live recordings are being released will fill you full of varying levels of indeterminate joy (I know it does us). Featuring some of our favourite acts, including Danny & the Champions of the World, Emily Smith, Polly & the Billets Doux and the Dreaming Spires, and with a donation from each CD being made to Help Musicians UK charity, what’s not to like. website

Shire Folk’s favourite in yer face folksters, Stick in the Wheel, are taking their raw and direct style out on the road once more. From October to early December SITW are going on their biggest tour so far, including their first dates in Ireland and Wales. Closer to home they are playing Wychwood Folk Club, as well as the likes of The Junction in Cambridge and the West End Centre in Aldershot. Rather excitingly, they’re promising us some special guests into the bargain. They’re also teasing us with the promise of some new music on the way! website

As flagged in the last issue, LAU have a new album, Midnight & Closedown, on the horizon. They have the inevitable supporting tour, which, given they’re one of the best live acts around, is just as well. The exciting news is that the tour has been extended into February next year. They’re mangling their instruments and playing their weird Heath Robinson-type contraption at such venues as The Stables in Wavendon, the Glee Club in Birmingham, and The Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth. website

Following on from Rhiannon Giddens this year, local boy Nick Mulvey will be curating the 2019 Cambridge Folk Festival. Taking place at the usual Cherry Hinton Hall site from 1 to 4 August, Mulvey gets to choose five of his favourite artists to play the event, plus he takes a turn on the main stage as well. Not bad work if you can get it. Given that Giddens performed three times herself and took part in debates and Q&As, Mulvey is likely to be a busy boy. website

Folk trio Lady Maisery have announced a live album comprising 13 live versions of material culled from their three studio albums, Cycle, Mayday and Weave & Spin. Pre-release copies will be available at gigs in at their Autumn/Winter 2018 tour, so if you miss out you’ll have to wait until next year for the official release. It’s arguable that Hazel Askew, Hannah James and Rowan Rheingans are at their best in a live environment, so this will be well worth seeking out. Expect expert harmonising, instrumental skills, and a certain amount of ‘diddling’. website

PJ Wright and Dave Pegg have become Patrons of Music at the Unicorn at the lovely Unicorn Theatre in Abingdon. You will be able to see Peggy in action when he plays there with AJ Clarke on Wednesday 7 November and again with The Dylan Project on Thursday 6 December. Patrons see to be popping up everywhere, with Reg Meuross, Louise Jordan and Ninebarrow becoming Patrons of Holywell Music and Folk in Oxford.


Bruce Gomersall

Regular visitors to Nettlebed Folk Club will have heard resident Bruce Gomersall singing songs from the tradition for many years. This summer Bruce won the Fred Jordan Memorial Trophy (for unaccompanied singing) at the Saltburn Festival. The songs that won him the trophy and a cash prize (very important to a Yorkshireman!) were ‘Low Down in the Broom’ and ‘Bruton Town’. Congratulations to Bruce from all at Shire Folk.


Keston Cobblers


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Kim Edgar


Shire Folk Album of 2017

Martin Simpson
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